Home from the trip to Gran Canaria….& what a trip it was! This is that oft-wished-for magical radio location—a mountain top surrounded by salt water!
The focus of our trip (W2GD & I) was to determine how to make this a world-class contest station. Pekka, OH1RY/EA8AH, who found the site, bought it, lives next door, has recently sold it to RD3AF, who wants to improve EVERYTHING. We planned the trip w/the ARRL DX Test in mind, so we could do a M-2 operation. We managed 7000 QSOs for a tad over 7M points, as EF8M, which is probably good for 3rd in the world. You can’t beat the Caribbean locations for the ARRL…we knew that going on, they are simply too close to the US. This was my 1st ARRL contest outside the US, & it was a treat to work so many friends, clients, & guys who I know personally. But the contest was not our primary focus so I’ll talk more about the site & the work….
The falloff to the ocean is simply amazing.
1500 feet straight down to salt water.
The soil is very rocky, making any excavation difficult. The local gov’t does not want any “permanent” installations, making portable towers necessary. Of course, since we do not need really tall towers, this hopefully will not be too problematic. Only 160/80 antennas will be truly hard, as of course we’re looking for gain on these bands too. We used a 3L wire Yagi on 80M this time, & even w/the elements at only 40-50 feet, I think we were loud! The other major factor is the wind. The island was struck by 121 KPH gusts the day before we arrived. But I believe F-12 beams can survive (I’ve had good luck installing them in the Caribbean, for example).
This was truly an International weekend. Valery (RD3AF) does not speak English; the EA8 locals speak mostly Spanish; we speak only English. Valery brought Mila, an interpreter, to our “serious” meetings. EA8CAC, Juan, the youngest team member, speaks good English, & Pekka speaks enough Finnish, Spanish & English, so that w/lots of sketching, hand waving, & that universal ham radio language of Q-signals, we got through the weekend, learned a lot, & had an absolutely great time.
Next job? Preparing our workplan for the station upgrades, & then hopefully going back to build & install everything.